I am a one-phone-gadget woman, as most of us are. But not this time. I cannot live on Blackberry alone.
My Blackberry Curve 9300 has been driving me nuts since I first held it in June 2011. I have to bring another phone all the time to make sure I get by in a day.
Yesterday, my Blackberry did it again. The key applications–SMS, alarm clock, call facilities–would not launch as the tiny counter just kept on turning clockwise, an indication that something in the phone froze again (“hang”, as many call it). Thus, I woke up late, received a text message 2 hours after, among others. It’s a smartphone that does not make me smart.
So much for my hopes that this once-venerable smartphone would make me more productive.
I hate it. It’s clunky, less user-friendly than any of my previous smartphones. It feels old.
My two Samsung smartphones served me well in the past 6 years and they set the bar high for what smartphones should be. One ran on Symbian OS, which I loved dearly and made the leap from my pre-smartphone Nokia handsets epic. The stylus-styled browsing was so convenient and made the entire phone app navigable. And with its qwerty keypad, I loved how i was able to send breaking stories to the newsdesk by emailing drafts straight from my phone.
Then I graduated into Samsung Wave in 2010 after I fell in love with its Super Amoled screen. Pictures came alive and the videos vividly captured each precious moment. Navigating around the different functions and applications was a joyful task. It wasn’t perfect–the SMS folder gets full and I have to consistently erase to allow new ones in, and it runs on Bada OS, which meant I couldn’t download my favorite Evernote and YNAB apps–but I loved my slick, sexy, and cool gadget nonetheless.
Then came May 2011. I needed to check my email and surf the web on my phone when electricity was not yet back in power-challenged El Nido, a paradise in northern Palawan where I was vacationing. I got the shock of my life when my phone provider sent me a system generated text that I raked up Php4,000++ bills over 4 days! That’s when I realized I need a phone with a push email.
I called Globe to ask if I am already entitled to a free phone. As a loyal postpaid subscriber since 1999, I had received two free phones from the Ayala-led telco in the past. The customer service agent ran me through the different choices and I eventually settled on a Blackberry, thinking that its Blackberry Max plan would cover my need for unlimited internet surfing, social media access, and, most importantly, push email.
After my almost month-long break in Palawan, I returned to Manila where a small black box greeted me. After I peeled off the plastics and carton, a bulky black phone emerged. I spent several nights going through the nitty-gritties, downloading relevant apps, and all getting-to-know-you musts. I thought I’ll eventually get over the initial shock and eventually pat myself in the back that I made the right decision to agree to an 18-month lock up period with my service provider.
I thought wrong. The range of apps and the usability of the trackpad are underwhelming, and the navigational options are not intuitive. I have to push so many buttons or drill down a series of menu options–and I have to memorize those 1-2-3 steps so I could do them again next time–when I want to access a certain function, like going to recently opened site pages.
In my previous touch screen phone, I could flip the phone for landscape views and easily pinch a picture or a site page to zoom in or out. With my Blackberry, I have to painfully do a left-right scroll to finish sentences or long segments of texts that bleed beyond the small screen. I dread clicking links in Twitter posts as they may bring me to sites that did not optimize their pages for mobile phone viewing.
Worse, i couldn’t view online videos and pages that have flash-based content! In this age of online journalism and extreme back-to-the-coffeehouse engagement, shouldn’t videos and flash be as basic to RIM guys as having 5 fingers in one hand?
Oh, and let me get to battery power. This bitch does not last a day! I asked around and sought enlightenment from online forums not only on the battery-life issue but also the constant freezing/hanging. I found the suggestions outrageous: turn off Twitter/Facebook and other apps or disable the push email. That’s like telling me not to use the phone for the main reasons I chose it.
Reading this online story about the goings on at RIM in Canada made me regret making the choice all the more. My woes started from the failings of the leaders in the company that made the phone.
However, I paused from self-flagellation after learning how BBM, the secured and free Blackberry-to-Blackberry messaging service, played a crucial role in the London riots (Oh, so it can be used by fascists). I also paused when I read how people in Virginia, shocked by an earthquake, turned to BBM-ing when other phone networks failed (So it can be a life/sanity saver). Hmmm…
So I take it back. I don’t really hate my Blackberry 100%. I’m trying not to totally want to throw it in the trash can.
Rejoinder: In the evening of August 30, six days after I posted this blog, my Blackberry was lost.